Pep ‘Talk’ perks up ABC slot

Skein pulls in 12.9 mil viewers in debut

The premiere of ABC’s midseason comedy “Talk to Me” has slightly improved the net’s standing in its Tuesday timeslot, although the show lost a big chunk of its lead-in audience.

Touchstone series, featuring Kyra Sedgwick as a radio talkshow host in New York, drew 12.9 million viewers and an adults 18-49 rating of 5.8/16 in its debut Tuesday at 9:30, according to Nielsen. “Talk” retained 65% of its “Dharma & Greg” lead-in audience and 76% among young adults.

It was ABC’s best ratings in the 9:30 Tuesday slot with original programming in 11 weeks.

The numbers are an improvement over what “Sports Night” and repeats of other ABC sitcoms had been averaging in the slot, but not by much. Compared with the net’s season-to-date average, “Talk” improved by 9% in total viewers (12.9 million vs. 11.8) and by 5% in adults 18-49 (5.8 vs. 5.5).

ABC has dominated Tuesdays since January, when “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” joined the lineup in the leadoff spot and vet drama “NYPD Blue” began its season. It’s now a 9:30 comedy hit away from putting a stranglehold on the night and likely won’t settle for only slight improvements over what the struggling “Sports Night” had logged.

The Alphabet web ordered six episodes of “Talk,” which is tentatively scheduled to air through the first three weeks of the May sweeps.

ABC won Tuesday by 10 shares in homes over both CBS and NBC and by 7 shares over NBC in adults 18-49.

With NBC’s rival laffer “Will & Grace” in repeat, ABC’s “Dharma & Greg” (18.22 million) delivered its most-watched episode in seven weeks. And at 10, “NYPD Blue” (15.56 million) also hit a seven-week high.

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